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Kelso’s water comes from the Cowlitz River, downstream from the Toutle-Green Rivers. The U.S. Forest Service just issued a draft decision to allow Ascot Resources to begin exploratory drilling right along the headwaters of the Green River.
The proposed mine for copper, gold and molybdenum is at Goat Mountain on the northeastern border of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Once prospecting is finished, it will be difficult to stop a mine itself.
But small mines in the area from the early 1900s leak some acid mine drainage — a large modern mine could produce much more. Also, the crater is only 12 miles away.
Periodically swarms of small tremors occur, and stronger activity, is likely over the life of a mine and its tailing pond. A mining accident would be disastrous for our water supply, as the Kelso City Council recognized in a March 2016 resolution.
Join me in asking the Forest Service to protect this precious natural resource by withdrawing the draft decision. Email Charlie Sharp, Cowlitz Ranger District, firstname.lastname@example.org.